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Business News of Monday, 22 February 2021

Source: Nigerian Tribune

Telecom subscribers groan as SIM/NIN registration takes toll on businesses

Mrs Esther Olaniyi had lost her phone, together with some personal belongings, on December 25, 2020, somewhere around  Ewekoro, Ogun State, on her way out of Lagos.

Interestingly, almost two months after, one thing that has constantly reminded her of the ugly incident, is her inability to, till date, recover the MTN SIM card lost on that day.

There had been several attempts at getting a ‘Welcome Back’ pack from her telecoms service provider, but all to no avail.

“My first attempt was in December, last year, a few days after the incident. I had gone to their office, at Ikeja City Mall, armed with a sworn affidavit, which I had done earlier in the day. I was turned back on the flimsy excuse that the federal government had banned such a process. Efforts at telling them that the federal government only banned issuance of a new SIM card and that SIM retrievals should not be affected fell on deaf ears,” she explained.

According to her, weeks later, though the network service provider claimed to have made itself available for subscribers, seeking to retrieve their lost lines, the situation still remains the same.

"Their network was always down, the three times had been there,” she added.

Her greatest concern now is that the line is linked to her individual and corporate accounts, and the present situation makes her oblivious of activities on those bank accounts since December 25, when that card was lost.

Interestingly, Mrs Olaniyi is not alone. Many subscribers, and even agents, who spoke with Brands & Marketing believe the federal government’s pronouncements on SIM/NIN registration has placed another burden on the over-burdened Nigerian subscribers, and their businesses.

“I’ve been running from pillar to post looking for how to recover my MTN line, lost on December 24, last year, when I was robbed in Lagos by two guys on a bike. The telecoms service provider has not been forthcoming,” lamented another subscriber, who would not want his name in print.

The line also serves as his link to his various bank accounts.

An agent, Mr Yinka Oyewole, with a shop in Aboru, in Agbado Oke Odo Local Council Development Area of Lagos,  confirmed that it had not been the best of times for telecoms subscribers and even their agents, a development readily attributed to the new policy of the federal government on SIM/NIN registration.

“Some of these telecoms service providers are only trying to play safe. They don’t want to be singled out for sanctions, that is why you see them tread the path of caution.

“Unfortunately, this is beginning to take its toll on our business and those of the subscribers too. For instance, for the past few weeks now,  we only render skeletal services in this place, which, in the past, used to be a beehive of activities. It’s been very bad. And it is affecting the business seriously,” he stated.

Another subscriber, Mr Kazeem Akanbi will rather blame the government on insensitivity.

“They can not claim not to know what is going on here, especially with the SIM/NIN registration, they are simply not bothered. You can imagine what has become of those who survive on this line of business. It’s quite sad,” stated Akanbi.

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